July 28, 2004

Correctional Health Care Systems and Collaboration With Academic Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Federal Bureau of Prisons, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2004;292(4):501-503. doi:10.1001/jama.292.4.501

A jail or prison is the health care setting for millions of patients in the United States. Nevertheless, correctional health care remains largely an enigma to mainstream medicine and largely disregarded by academic medicine. The article by Raimer and Stobo1 in this issue of JAMA describes an uncommon, if not unique, relationship between academic medicine and a correctional health care system. In this model, 2 Texas medical schools assumed the responsibility for delivery and oversight of the medical care for inmates under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Direct university involvement in correctional health care resulted in a more structured delivery of health care services using evidence-based medicine, greater access to subspecialists (particularly through telehealth), improved clinical outcomes for chronic illnesses, and cost savings for the state of Texas.

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